I made plans to come home from the beach on Wednesday because I had two events to attend in Charlotte on Thursday night that I didn’t want to miss. And Tanner was (lovingly) like, “you cannot leave me for a whole week.” We are trying to plan our own mini-getaway to the mountains in a couple of weeks so I’m kind of splitting my summer vacation between the two trips.
The first event was a grand opening celebration for my future brother-in-law’s new photography studio. It’s clean, modern and filled with gorgeous natural light. He’s been working mostly out of his home and on location for the last several years so I’m so excited for him and his new space!
His sister-in-law did the catering for the party (talented fam!) and it was incredible. Going clockwise from top left…stuffed artichoke bottoms (<– what a cool idea, right?), Biscoff brownies, figs stuffed with blue cheese and wrapped in bacon, bahn mi sandwich crostini and watermelon basil skewers. Her catering business is Passion Food Catering and I can’t recommend her enough if you live in the area.
My next stop found me in the Punch Room at the Ritz Carlton Charlotte Uptown for an InstaNosh event. The event was organized to bring together Charlotte bloggers and Instagramers for a night of networking and experiencing all the hotel has to offer for local residents. We enjoyed a demonstration from head mixologist Bob Peters on how to make a killer punch. He’s kind of a local celebrity and known for his amazing cocktails.
He gave us all kinds of great tips punch making tips including always use fresh fruit, always have an element of spice (can be actual spices or something like tea), add fresh herbs, freeze a giant ice cube in a bread pan to float in the punch (as it melts it will water down the punch which is good for guests as the party goes on…haha!) and more. The punch he made for us had fresh citrus, tequila, cilantro, local kombucha, fresh jalapeno and some other good stuff. I can tell you that it was delicious! 🙂
After cocktails we were seated for dinner at BLT Steak.
We were greeted with a wine pour and their to die for popovers.
I am dead serious when I say that the popovers alone are reason to dine at BLT Steak.
See how happy I am?
But dinner wasn’t popovers alone. We also were served a family-style meal of steak, salmon and chicken with a variety of sides with wines to pair with.
My plate. Everything was so good!
After dinner we got to walk through the Ritz’s kitchen which was really fun for me. It was huge and there was so much going on.
Our destination was the Cocoa Lab where we were greeted by pastry chef Crystal Broadbent. She demonstrated how to make a honey buttercream (using honey from the Ritz’s rooftop garden!) and piping it into macarons. Crystal has a tattoo of a cupcake on her neck…you can’t get more passionate about your job than that, right!?
Our next stop was Bar Cocoa where we could pick out any dessert we wanted to box up and take home. I chose the carrot cake and the salted caramel tart and they also sent us home with a selection of macarons. Bar Cocoa is the Ritz’s in-house dessert bar where they serve a variety of chocolates, gelato, macarons and house-made desserts.
Our final stop was a sneak peek at the brand new Hidden Vine located in a tiny space on the lobby level. It’s a tiny little wine shop where hotel guests can pick up a bottle of wine or visitors to the lobby bar can buy a bottle of wine to enjoy on site with no corkage fee as long as it’s over $30. I see a wine + Bar Cocoa date in our future!
On the way out we stopped to take in the fresh fruit that was on display for hotel guests to pick up and enjoy. How nice is that amenity!?
Much thanks to the Ritz for a really fun night. It was extremely well-organized and the service was perfect. What was even better was the company. To be completely honest, I turn down a lot of invites like this because networking and small talk is outside of my comfort zone. I spent half the day on Thursday coming up with reasons why I couldn’t attend. I’m so glad I did because it was an absolutely lovely evening full of really real conversation.
One of my friends once told me, “the anticipation is worse than the participation” and he couldn’t be more spot on. I told my yoga classes today that we spend way too much time building up stories and scenarios in our head when really we need to just jump in and be as positive as possible about the outcome or simply say no.
I’m glad I said yes! There are some really cool women in Charlotte doing kick ass things and I’m grateful to have connected with some of them last night.
I hope you guys have a great weekend!
Do you have any super delicious punch or cocktail combos to share?
Have you ever had popovers?
Do you like macarons?
Do you ever experience “participation anticipation” anxiety?